Celebrate the ginger in your life – or your own red hair – on November 5th for National Redhead Day. Because redheads have frequently been harassed, the day is intended to empower those with red hair, whether natural or dyed.
The day began as National Love Your Red Hair Day in 2015, created by Adrienne and Stephanie Vendetti. They also founded the website How to Be a Redhead. The sisters decided that a day celebrating redheads was needed after hearing of things like “Kick a Ginger Day.” Rather than fight the bad, they wanted to boost positive messages instead and to celebrate by having redheads post selfies with such hashtags as #LoveYourRedHairDay or #NationalRedheadDay.
Other countries have similar celebrations on different days. In the UK, National Redhead Day is May 19th. In 2018, events centered around Camden, London because Prince Harry, a ginger himself, was married to Meghan Markle there.
In the Netherlands, Roodharigendag (Red Hair Day) has been celebrated as a two-day event since 2005 on the first weekend in September. It began when Bart Rouwenhorst, a Dutch painter, decided to exhibit portraits of 15 redheads. Thousands of natural redheads attended from around the world.
How Common Is Red Hair?
Red hair is the rarest hair color with less than two percent of the world being a natural redhead. That means less than 140 million people have natural red hair. Of that two percent worldwide, 13 percent reside in Scotland and 10 percent in Ireland.
The gene involved comes from MCIR, also known as melanocortin 1 receptor, a genetic mutation that is recessive so both parents have to carry the gene for a child to have red hair. Even then, the child has only a 25 percent chance of being a natural redhead.
Do Redheads Have Special Powers?
Silly as that sounds, centuries ago those with red hair were frequently labeled as witches. In reality, redheads do have certain strengths and weaknesses in comparison to those with brown or blond hair.
The MC1R gene carries other traits besides red hair. Those with it tend toward:
- Being left-handed
- Bruising easily
- Being very fair-skinned
- Burning more easily in sunlight
- A greater tendency of developing skin cancer
- Having freckles
- Greater temperature sensitivity
- Being harder to anesthetize
- More pain tolerance
- At higher risk for endometriosis
- Never going gray. Red hair fades to blond or white but not gray.
Additionally, redheads tend to have less melanin that assists with absorbing Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Because of that, they can produce their own Vitamin D when in low light conditions.
It’s also harder to dye red hair. Natural red hair holds its pigment more firmly than other types. So even though its lighter appearance might make you think it would be easier to dye than dark brown hair, red hair needs to be bleached before it can be dyed.
Hair Loss and Redheads
While redheads have the normal risk for traction alopecia from prolonged tight hair tying, and for male/female pattern baldness, they’re more prone to winter hair loss.
How redheads can avoid winter hair loss:
- Moisturize your hair and scalp
- Use chemical-free hair care products
- Massage your scalp
- Avoid heat styling
- Minimize stress
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoid temperature extremes
The last one can be done by keeping your hair in a hat or wrapped in a scarf when going outside during winter. Extreme temperatures can make hair more brittle.
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